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Rosemary Thornton Stare was born October 27, 1929 to Monroe and Mary Thornton in Bloomington, Wisconsin. Growing up on a farm near Bagley in Grant County she was active in 4-H, especially with camps & clothing projects through high school. She had 3 siblings, Phyllis (Mauston), John (Marshfield) and Neil (Bloomington, deceased). Rosemary and her siblings had a great life growing up on the farm and a wonderfully close family.
After graduating from UW Madison with a major in Home Economics-Related Arts she joined Cooperative Extension as the Home Demonstration Agent in Jackson County on November 1, 1951. At that time, she had the opportunity to do television programs on WKBT in La Crosse, WI and this inspired her to return to school. Rosemary completed an M. S. in Agriculture Journalism in 1957 & went to Michigan State University as the Home Economics Information Specialist.
In 1958, she returned to Wisconsin as the Extension Home Economist in Dodge County. Rosemary married Robert Stare in 1960 and they moved to Mt. Horeb, WI and had a daughter Sandy. She accepted the position of “temporary” Consumer Marketing Specialist with UW-Extension in 1962. This position soon became a full time assignment.
In 1971 she was asked to accept a District Program leader position. During this time she tried a variety of roles including being the first female District Director when she filled the interim South District Position.
Rosemary filled the Home Economics State Program Leader role on three separate occasions for a total of nearly six years. She chaired the College Days program, worked with Farm Progress Days Committees, advised Extension Homemakers and served as state liaison to the North District.
Rosemary received the UWEX Distinguished Service Award in 1981, the Jackson County Extension Homemaker Award for Dedication and Service in 1982 and the WAEHE Outstanding Alumna Award in 1984. Through the decades of her service, she showed her practical, common-sense philosophy. Always a positive influence, she will be missed by anyone who knew her. Her academic rank was professor of Family Living Education in UW Extension. She had a great sense of humor, positive attitude and always looked on the bright side. You could say that Rosie wore rose colored glasses, and it worked. Rosemary loved to dress sharp and had class to go along with it. She was always on trend or ahead of them and will be fondly remembered for her love of shoes, meaning High Heels. Rosemary spent her retirement tending to her garden and enjoying time with Bob. They went to Florida for many years for some winter sunshine. Rosemary loved people and wherever there were people, there was Rosemary. She was a member of Kiwanis where she bowled Monday nights, and she attended Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ while living in Madison. In 2009, she sold her home and moved to Oakwood Village in Madison, where she met many new friends and knew many old ones. In 2013, Rosemary moved to Appleton and lived with Sandy for a couple of years. During those two years, she really had the time of her life. Rosemary and Sandy spent a lot of time together doing things they loved: shopping, gambling, going out for dinner, and just having fun. In March of 2015, she moved to Renaissance Assisted Living where she enjoyed the people there and enjoyed the activities including playing cards. Rosemary especially enjoyed giving the staff a hard time – in her own Rosemary way.
Rosemary is survived by her daughter Sandy Stare, grandson’s Gordon Sennett (Courtney), Andy Sennett, a sister Phyllis Field, a brother John Thornton, and many nieces and nephews who all had a great love and admiration of her. She also has many friends who loved her too.
She is preceded in death by her husband Robert, her grandson Douglas Sennett, her parents Monroe and Mary Thornton, a brother Neil and his wife Rosemary Thornton, her brother in law Fred Field, and many dogs she owned throughout her lifetime.
A special thank you to the staff at Renaissance for all the love and care you gave to her throughout the last three and a half years, as well as to AseraCare Hospice for your wonderful loving care of Mom at the end.
A Memorial service will be held at Valley Funeral Home, 2211 N Richmond St, Appleton WI on Sunday, December 30th, 2018 at 2pm with visitation from 11-2. In lieu of flowers you may contribute to a charity of your choice of any contributions will be pooled to be given in Rosemary’s memory. Charity to be determined.
Afterwards everyone is invited to Capitol Centre, 725 W Capitol Dr, Appleton WI to mingle and share memories. Mom loved their steak sandwich. Cost is on your own. If you have a story you would like to share and can attend please bring it with you. If you have a story and you cannot attend please email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be sure it is heard.